State Gazette Boys Basketball Offensive Player of the Year: Dyersburg Trojan Ace Mahaffey

Monday, July 1, 2024
Dyersburg Trojan Ace Mahaffey


With a reputation over the past two seasons of putting his team on his back during big postseason games, Dyersburg Trojan senior Ace Mahaffey has been named the State Gazette Boys Basketball Offensive Player of the Year for this past season.

Dyersburg Head Coach Blaine Mahaffey said Ace was a big piece of the team’s offensive plan during the 2023-24 basketball season.

“He’s been a big piece of it during his time here,” Mahaffey said. “He’s been a guy that’s improved each year.

“He’s worked hard and he’s put himself in a good position.”

Through this, the Trojan head coach pointed out, Ace has stayed humble.

“He will be the first to tell you that his teammates are a big part of that as well,” Mahaffey explained. “Man, I am happy for him and I’m proud for him. He’s worked hard to get where he has gotten.”

Offensively this past season, Ace had to transition from being off guard to playing the one guard.

“Figuring out ways to distribute and getting other players the ball,” Dyersburg’s head coach said. “And, getting himself going.

“That’s a different deal if you’ve never done it. But, he was able to figure it out. Again, that’s just some of the work he’s put into it that others don’t see.”

Another of these things is also one of his best intangibles.

“I think he’s a good teammate,” Mahaffey explained. “That’s one of his biggest things.

“And, probably didn’t say this enough, some of his leadership qualities. He was tough and he was coachable.”

This can be the challenge for the son of the team’s head coach.

“Obviously, he has to deal and handle some things that other people don’t have to handle and deal with,” Mahaffey pointed out. “I have always respected the way he’s handled that.

“But, overall, he’s a great teammate. He’s fun in the lockerroom. The guys like him.”

While he had strong games during the regular season – averaging 16.8 points a game during his senior season as well a 4.2 rebounds, Ace stepped onto another level in the postseason. The senior guard averaged over 25 points a game in the District 13AAA Tournament as the Trojans won their second straight postseason district title. In leading his team, the Dyersburg senior also won his second straight Tournament Most Valuable Player award.

“You always like to say your better players show up when it matters,” Mahaffey explained. “That goes back to our team and his teammates – just kind of how they all went about it this year.”

Mahaffey added Ace’s performance in the postseason goes back to the work he put into his game.

“Another thing that I have found out about him is that he’s competitive,” the Trojan head coach said. “I think some of his earlier, non-successful days led to the end having more success because I think he just learned from it.

“Again, I think it goes back to his toughness and his competitiveness. Where his mindset is to just keep playing.”

Mahaffey was a three-sport athlete during his final year as a Trojan. Ace is a two-time Region 7 Champion in golf and played in the TSSAA State Tournament in each of the past two seasons. He’s won the State Gazette Boys Golfer of the Year Award in each of the past two seasons. This spring, he returned to baseball for his senior year and was the Trojans’ top reliever.

“I think, throughout his career and since he was little, having him play in multiple sports, I think they’ve all benefited one another,” the Trojan basketball coach said. “I think that’s one of the biggest things we as coaches are bad about – making our sport and our season seem like its the most important thing in the world.

“But, multi-sport kids, I think have great chances to be successful not only in their sports but after sports as well. I think it adds to his well-roundedness.”

The Trojan head coach shared what Ace has meant to the program during his four years of high school.

“I think he’s been a great ambassador – not only to this program but to this school and school system,” Mahaffey said. “He’s done a lot for this school system.

“There’s some things that he’s done athletically that have been done before and may not be done again. He’s been a great student up here. He enjoys coming to sporting events. He’s been to every sporting event since he was little. He’s in the student section, he’s cheering. If you look at the girls state championship photos, he’s in the front row, hanging off that rail. I think just that part of it – him being an ambassador for Dyersburg High School and Dyersburg City Schools – that’s what’s been one of the biggest things about him.”

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  • As his proud grandmother, I have to report the typo in the last paragraph that changed the meaning of the sentence. He's done things that have NOT been done before, is how it should have read. In my mind, that is huge! I don't think Ace got the credit he deserved for the way he handled "playing in a fish bowl" as I call it! He took more abuse, both verbal and physical, from opposing teams than any other player I have ever seen! Yet, he never let it get to him! He showed poise and mental toughness through it all! I saw that same mental toughness exhibited in his golf matches when he rebounded from a bad hole to win a Region Championship! No, I don't think we will see another kid like Ace Mahaffey!

    -- Posted by dinahmahaffey on Mon, Jul 1, 2024, at 10:04 AM
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